Does your medical cannabis contain too much THC?

Most of the products in a recent study contained more than 10 percent THC, and many had 15 percent or more

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If you are consuming cannabis products for purely recreational purposes, getting high is sort of the point. If, on the other hand, you are using them for medicinal reasons—to treat chronic pain, for example—getting buzzed is not necessarily a desired outcome. For some, it can even be an unpleasant side effect.

According to a study published in the March 26 online edition of the journal PLOS ONE, more than 90 percent of legal cannabis products offered in medical dispensaries in the United States are much stronger than what doctors recommend for chronic pain relief.

Researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine, led by associate professor of anesthesiology E. Alfonso Romero-Sandoval, “recorded the concentrations of THC and CBD in all plant cannabis products provided by legal dispensary websites and compared them between or within the states in the study,” according to a March 26 news release. The states in question were California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, and a total of 8,505 cannabis products across 653 dispensaries were sampled.

The research team discovered that most of the products offered in the medical dispensaries included in the study contained more than 10 percent THC, and that many had 15 percent or more—putting them on par with products from recreational dispensaries.  

According to Romero-Sandoval, this is a problem, because the majority of people who use medical cannabis—between 60 and 80 percent—do so for pain relief. “The higher the concentration of THC the greater risk, not only for developing dependency, but also for developing tolerance more quickly, which means higher and higher concentrations might be needed to get the same level of pain relief,” according to the news release.

“Better regulation of the potency of medical marijuana products is critical,” Romero-Sandoval said, arguing that since the Food and Drug Administration in the United States “regulates the level of over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen that have dose-specific side effects”, it ought to do for cannabis, which he claimed is “far more dangerous.” 

Thanks for the tip

Have you read a recent study that sheds new light on the topic of cannabis? Are you a researcher working on a clinical trial? If so, send me a link and I might feature it in a future edition of CannCentral’s Research Roundup. Thanks!


  • Mark April 2, 2020 03:24 AM

    Inform reform create the new norm

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